Music icon Whitney Houston: 1963-2012

The music industry once again had to say farewell to an artist taken all too soon. Perhaps one of pop’s most influential female artists, Whitney Houston succumbed to an untimely death on Feb. 11.

The Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office reported Sunday afternoon that an autopsy on Houston’s body has been completed, but official results have been placed on hold, pending toxicology tests, which could take up to 8 weeks.

Just hours before a pre-Grammy party that Houston was supposed to attend, her lifeless body was found in the bathtub of her room at the Beverly Hills Hilton Hotel. No foul play is suspected in Houston’s death according to police reports. Upon a sweep of the room, prescription drugs were found. Houston was 48.

Whether you’re an admirer of Houston or a bandwagon post-mourning fan, it goes without saying that her music and acting career left behind a legacy that has set a standard that some can only dream to reach.

Houston’s unfortunate demise came on the eve of music’s biggest night. The Grammys proceeded Sunday night under a dark cloud. Host LL Cool J performed a Grammy first when he read a solemn prayer on the behalf of music’s “fallen sister.”

“Whitney, we will always love you,” said Cool J as the cameras revealed heads bowed in respect and tears as they swept across the massive audience. Jennifer Hudson later echoed those lines a passionate, heartfelt delivery of “I Will Always Love You,”  provoking more tears from audience members both in attendance and at home.

With a career spanning just over three decades, Houston hit her peek in the mid 80s and into the 90s. She released singles such as “I Wanna Dance With Somebody,” “One Moment In Time,” “Run To You,” and what might be her best known single, her cover of  “I Will Always Love You.” The latter two of the songs were hits courtesy of her acting career demonstrated in “The Bodyguard” with Kevin Costner.

At the beginning of the 1991 Super Bowl, she even performed the Nation Anthem with such finesse that it reached the Top 20 in the US Hot 100 hits. Houston still remains the most awarded female musician of all time.

Her seemingly effortless powerhouse vocals combined with sex appeal gave Houston an edge. The career she led influenced other vocal dynamos like Mariah Carey and Christina Aguilera.

Unfortunately, much of Houston’s career fell under the radar in many eyes due to her dark period of drug abuse. During this time, complete with unusual public appearances and Bobby Brown drama, album sales plunged and her battered voice became raspy and refused to produce the same pristine licks that once captivated listeners.

“I decided long ago, never to walk in anyones shadows. If I fail, if I succeed—at least I live as I believe,” sang Houston in “Greatest Love Of All.” And walk in shadows she did not.

This trendsetter once dominated the charts with her influential vocal chops and ultimately made poor decisions that blemished her robust career. Above all though, she was a person who passed away all too soon.

“So good-bye, please don’t cry…I will always love you.” Rest in Peace Whitney Houston.


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